Monday, July 14, 2008

Oops, I've been meaning to get around to playing that

Since a point in 2007 there is one encouraging thing I've seen about games, and that is their status as an object of consumption.

In the industrial world, we have more food and more leisure time than ever before. Unlike other types of countries, industrialists spend their time consuming and evaluating their choices as consumers, and discussing those choices with friends.

"Did you try the new sushi place?" "Yes, it was way better than I thought it would be. Make sure you get the ninja wasabi harroken."

"Go see that action movie?" "Yeah, it sucked. He's getting old and should move on. The stunts were bad."

"Okay, I'll read that, but there are ten other books in the queue."

Books, movies, TV, all media: we treat them like a diet. Instead of stomachs, we have mental space and time. We only have room for so much, and we only wish to consume the best. This reveals much about our society and culture, but this is a blog about games, so I leave you to your own conclusions about consumption and markets in your industrial country.

The thing that I am happy about is that games are becoming part of the "media diet". The fact that media are treated like a diet saddens me, but the fact that games have gained respect from it does not.

I purchased Halo 3 and GTA IV, both games that I'm not terribly interested in, because of this rhetoric. I felt that even though I didn't like Halo 3, I felt it was my duty as a gamer who wants to get back into the games world to purchase it. I bought it the day it came out and beat it on heroic within a couple of weeks.

I had these thoughts resurrected when a good friend of mine lent me his copy of the Orange Box for the 360. He texted me to ask if I'd beaten Portal yet, and the fact I haven't played Portal yet is causing me guilt; it's something I've been meaning to do for months. My wife keeps forgetting that I wanted her to at least watch the beginning, and so tonight she will. She loved seeing Bioshock, and considering that my brother has been comparing my wife to GLaDOS, (squeaky, high-pitched voice that knows much more than it lets on), I really wanted us to see it together.

Tonight we will, and this week a burden will be relieved. I've been reminded and gladdened that games are now considered things we can't miss!


Blogger bawb said...

I hadn't thought of that before. Insightful.

What'd you think of GTA?

10:57 AM  
Blogger Etelmik said...

Hmm, I'm not sure what you would particularly think of it.

Using a gun was a pain. The themes and some of the stuff they interjected was hilarious. I don't think it was groundbreaking in its game mechanics, but thematically I think it breaks some new, if flawed, ground.

12:12 PM  
Blogger bawb said...

Yeah, I wasn't really impressed with the gameplay when I played the original. As you say, though, it seems like the sort of game that needs to be experienced.

12:25 PM  
Blogger ambrosia ananas said...

I'm glad you played it, just so you know all the GLaDOS references. She's my favorite thing right now.

And yes, good point. Although I can't say I regret any of it being treated like a diet--I'm delighted that I have so many options to choose from.

12:14 PM  
Blogger Etelmik said...

I'm on the 18th chamber right now and stuck, but haven't really applied myself to it. There aren't really only 19 of them, are there?

And Muschie and I have loved it so far.

12:17 PM  

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